Teenagers don’t rebel against authority. They rebel against a lack of relationship. – Greg C. Gunn
I once heard that one of the primary reasons Wal-Mart hires “grandma” style greeters is because it limits the number of shoplifting cases. It makes a potential criminal feel like they are stealing from a nice person rather than a huge corporation.
In a similar way, relationships between teenagers and older adults in the church can help keep a teenager for falling too far away. There is a connection. There is no lack of relationship.
Student Ministry Leaders have a unique voice and opportunity to help teenagers build solid relationships with older adults. Helping students feel loved and connected to adults in the church requires some diligent and intentional work.
It takes a community of participants, a wide network of different adult voices who know the students in your ministry. This happens somewhat naturally in smaller, more rural setting churches. There is a family or neighbor connection that comes with the territory in smaller congregations. For more suburban and urban settings and or for larger churches, it takes some work to build frameworks for connecting.
Here are some ways to help build frameworks for relationships:
- Music, worship and tech ministry are some great areas for adults to build relationships with teens in the church. It’s very inter-generational.
- Mission trips are another place where interaction between adults and students can become stronger. Always seek to have as many adults as possible travel on mission trips with students.
- Small Group leadership is another critical component. It’s not easy work, but a primary task of the student ministry leader is to recruit and equip leaders who can lead/teach small groups or Sunday School. One person can’t teach it all and one person can’t have a deep connection with each student.
- Let students know they are loved and/or missed through texts, notes or cards.
- Do your best to encourage the family and the home as parents and students live through the teenage years.
Deep relationships are a need for students. The church has a prime opportunity to help make it happen.
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